One former and three current employees of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department died of suspected suicides just hours apart this week.
According to NBC News, the deaths occurred on Monday and Tuesday.
Sources told the outlet that while the cause of the deaths has not been determined by the medical examiner, each of them is being investigated as a suicide.
On Monday morning, a captain was found dead at his home in Santa Clarita.
A short while later, a retired deputy was found dead in the Antelope Valley in the northern part of the county.
Also on Monday, a jail official was found dead, also in the Santa Clarita area.
The following morning, a deputy who worked at a jail was found unresponsive at home. The deputy was pronounced dead at a Pomona hospital.
NBC’s sources said the deaths are “unrelated to one another.”
The department has not released the identities of the deceased, but the Los Angeles Times reported that they include Cmdr. Darren Harris, a 25-year veteran of the force, and retired Sgt. Greg Hovland.
“The Sheriff’s Department is beyond saddened to learn of the deaths involving four LASD employees, one retired and three current,” the department said in a statement.
Sheriff Robert Luna also issued statements about the apparent suicides.
“We are stunned to learn of these deaths, and it has sent shockwaves of emotions throughout the department as we try and cope with the loss of not just one, but four beloved active and retired members of our department family,” Luna said.
“I have the deepest concern for our employees’ well-being, and we are urgently exploring avenues to reduce work stress factors to support our [employees’] work and personal lives,” he added, according to KABC-TV.
The sheriff’s department, the largest in the country, employs almost 18,000 people throughout the sprawling county, according to its website.
According to Boston University, police officers die of suicide at a rate that is 54 percent higher than among civilians.